Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Personal Profile

Amanda “Ada” McCartney: Poet, Artist, Activist

Amanda “Ada” McCartney K’11 was the first member of her family from the town of Colon, MI to attend college, which was a “big, cloudy mystery” to her before her first year at K.

“I went to K because [Professor] Ed Menta from the Theatre Department kind of latched onto me. I got a competitive scholarship in theatre, and that’s why I’m here,” said McCartney, who played the mother of a kidnapped child in K’s production of Tongue of a Bird last weekend.

Despite her original focus on theater, McCartney quickly developed passions for creative writing and service-learning during her first quarter at the college. She started volunteering at the HYPE service-learning program her first-year fall. “I got into creative writing because I always did slam poetry in high school,” she said.

She attended the Philadelphia Program her sophomore fall where she had the opportunity to work with Professor Diana Waters at the Philadelphia Center. Waters holds a Master’s Degree in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College in Vermont, said McCartney, and when Ada was at the program, Waters was writing a narrative history of the West Philadelphia neighborhood she grew up in through the life stories of 75 local women.

Waters influenced McCartney towards working for social justice through creative writing. Ada became the Civic Engagement Scholar for the Heartbeats service-learning program, through which she shared poetry with Kalamazoo Central High School’s students. She took Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Karen Berthel’s THEA-115 Community Dialogue Techniques class, for which she has been teaching assistant once already and will be again this spring.

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Amanda “Ada” McCartney: Poet, Artist, Activist